Building Buffers 2

31 August 2009, by A. Cedilla

Here are some more thoughts to get you thinking about the importance of having margins and buffers in our lives :

  • Perfectionism is a hopeless cause when attaining it is the only end-product. By its very nature, perfection – no more beyond–is not attainable in a changing world. It’s also boring. Once you’ve attained it, then what?
  • The insistence of 100% accuracy in human interaction is only an ideal. An an unrealistic one too.
  • Automation can just help you make mistakes faster.

Got that? Okay, let’s move on.

Think of it this way: Every day of your life you get a plate. That plate is a plate of a particular size. You can choose what goes on your plate. You can only handle what fits on your plate.

Again, you can only handle what fits on your plate. Your plate, not someone else’s plate, no matter how much you care for them or how important they are to you. They make their own choices, you make yours, and all of you deal with what’s on each of your respective plates.

If you keep dumping stuff on your plate without thinking, or without finishing (or let someone else dump their stuff on your plate) something is bound to slop off and hit the floor.

If it’s important, then it was your responsibility to have dealt with it, but you didn’t, so it was wasted. More so if it was of personal significance, since you didn’t deal with it as you meant to, when you meant to. The result?

A waste of potential, opportunities and resources, and the weakening of your personal power.


As in anything, if you force yourself to swallow everything on an overloaded plate, you get indigestion.

Your system cannot handle the overload, and you get stopped up. Maybe even queasy. Certainly heavier and more sluggish. If you force it all down, sooner or later some of that stuff is bound to make a messy return appearance.

Leave room on your plate. Only accept the things you can actually handle. Don’t go all Vegas-buffet kamikaze pile-on, when your eyes are bigger than your stomach.

Pace yourself. This gives you time to think about how to handle the next thing. If you don’t want something on your plate, remove it.

If you can’t remove it, then deal with it first to get it out of the way so you can go on to the more palatable stuff. That way, the worst is over and things would only get easier from there.

Leave some room. Room for dessert, or surprises, for accidents, for serendipitous events, for time to sit back and rest. And when the day is done, leave that plate and think ahead about what you want on tomorrow’s plate.

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